What's the best time of day to study?
At least once in our lives, we have all asked ourselves: is it better to study in the morning or in the evening? Of course, the answer depends first of all on the student's life habits, natural biorhythms, the commitments to be fulfilled during the day, the ability to concentrate, sleep etc. There are many factors that can affect concentration and the ability to isolate oneself from the context: noise, television, smartphones, going out with friends, attending courses, the roommate occupying the same room. This is where the willpower of a person, their ability not to suffer the charm of a thousand temptations, the habit of abstracting themselves from the world around them come into play. And so, it is true that the answer to the starting question - whether it is better, that is, to study in the morning or in the evening - depends mainly on the subject in question.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that nature has made men and women with similar characteristics and that it is precisely the physical elements, the need for cellular regeneration, nightly rest and how this can affect energy, memory and the productivity of study hours. That is why, when we ask ourselves what the best time is to study, we cannot do without conducting the evaluation also from a medical-scientific point of view, beyond what are the particularities and subjective habits.
So, let's try to understand something more about this complicated world of learning.
What is the best time to study? Most students prefer to study at night or in the afternoon because in the morning they have a hard time waking up. Those who don't go out in the evening, let themselves be dragged by television programs and never go to bed before 11 p.m. And because a student needs at least eight hours of sleep, in the morning they are never up before 9 a.m. There are those who, at 9 a.m., have already studied for four hours because they got up at 6 a.m. and, having a quick coffee, have already put themselves on their books. The latter, however, have the possibility - and especially the ability - to go to bed early, no later than 10pm. The eight hours of sleep are essential for the recovery of psychophysical energy. In addition, memory and the ability to concentrate also depend on sleep at night. According to some experts in the field, however, the hours of sleep between 10 p.m. and midnight are almost twice as long - in terms of energy recovery - as those afterwards. It means that, to a good approximation, a person who sleeps from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. has slept 9 hours, while one who went to bed at 2 a.m. and woke up at 9 a.m. has slept only 7 hours.
Is it better to study in the morning or in the evening? As long as you can go to bed early in the evening, it's always better to study in the morning. The brain is always fresher and more elastic. It learns better and stores data more easily than at night when it already has several hours of activity behind it.
After all, the brain works just like the muscles: after a whole day, you have more difficulty in training; but if you do it early in the morning, your body responds better to stimuli, precisely because it comes from a long period of rest. Therefore, studying in the morning has the advantage of working with a muscle - the brain - which is at the height of its capacity: it is a "sponge".
But here's the thing, you can't start studying in the morning without having a big breakfast first. Waking up early to study is, in fact, a matter of energy. Your body comes from a long period of fasting (about 8 hours) and is short of sugar, which is necessary for the brain cells to work. You should therefore take a sugary liquid such as fruit juice or the same sweet milk, coffee and complex carbohydrates, which can assist you for the rest of the day (for example, a slice of bread, rice cakes, biscuits, rusks). Fruit can also be a good support, but keep in mind that fructose is quickly consumed, so you will need to have a second breakfast in the morning.
The recurring motivation of those who can't get up early to study is that of pressure: "I have low blood pressure and I can't concentrate in the morning". It is, however, a non-motivation: low blood pressure can be, in fact, a valid help because it gives more serenity and calm, while it is precisely the stress that deconcentrates and makes learning more difficult. On the other hand, those who suffer from the "energy drop" of the early hours of dawn can try to supplement their breakfast with foods that serve to cheer up such as ginseng, guarana, royal jelly or liquorice.
Those who say "I can't get up early" have never seriously tried to change the rhythms of their lives. The key is to start: you start on a day when, after going to bed late, you get up early instead; with a few hours of sleep, you will fall asleep earlier in the evening and, as a result, you can get up early. This mechanism may take a few days before you go from break-in to consolidation, but it is worth a try.
Studying in the evening, on the other hand, requires you to use coffee to stay awake, which could also affect your nervous system and digestive organs (intestines in the first place). In the evening, then, you are forced to study with artificial light and your eyes would suffer in the long run. Your eyesight will also accentuate your tiredness. Those who study in the evening usually start after dinner. But concentrating with a full stomach is much more difficult because the body's energy is used for food breakdown and digestion. Basically, it's like working with half a motor and not a whole one.
Last but not least, there are those who often snack at night with numerous raids on the refrigerator to maintain concentration. All this will only worsen your physical condition and the quality of sleep at night.
I have made it clear that, in my opinion - but also according to medicine - the best times to study are in the morning. However, you don't necessarily need to be an early riser to work well: you can also do a good job of learning by starting at 8.30 a.m. and pulling up your books until 1.00 p.m., in time to eat and rest before resuming.
Nevertheless, studying during the night still has some points in its favour. The first of all is silence. The absence of environmental disturbances is a great advantage for those who are easily distracted and unable to find concentration despite the traffic on the street or the voices inside the apartment.
As a result of these brief considerations, I want to close with a series of practical tips on how to study better: do not study with music: even if it is instrumental or classical music, listening to it always leads to deconcentrate - albeit minimally - from what you are doing; do not study immediately after the main meals: digestion slows down the capacity of your brain; put aside your mobile phone, maybe store it in another room and, in any case, equip it with a silencer; do not exaggerate with coffee: even if, at first sight, they can help you, in the long run they don't allow you to understand those moments of tiredness during which you need to rest, just to ensure a better subsequent learning and to better memorize what you are studying; leave a bottle of water on your desk: hydrating your body helps you to improve your brain performance too; don't study lying down, on the bed or on the armchairs: study sitting on an ordinary chair, maybe equipped with a pillow. From time to time, get up for the sake of your back, take a walk and then return to your books.
Whatever foreign language you and you language exchange pals are studying, do you prefer to go to bed early and then get up at dawn and have the whole morning of study in front of you, or do you prefer to leave the day to student commitments, phone calls with friends and shopping and then take a single pull, without interruptions, from 7 to 2 a.m.? Let us know in the comments below!
- 17 Jun, 2020
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